Wedding FAQ

 

These FAQs relate to civil marriage and civil partnership ceremonies only. Please contact your local religious official for questions relating to religious ceremonies:

Before the ceremony date 

When do I pay for my ceremony?

You will be asked to pay a deposit for your ceremony when you book. The balance should then be paid at least 1 month before the ceremony date. This deposit is nonrefundable. 

 

I need to cancel or rearrange my ceremony, what do I need to do?

If you need to rearrange your ceremony, contact us as soon as possible to check alternative dates and times.

 

Can I change my name on my passport before the ceremony?

You can apply to change your name on your passport up to three months prior to your ceremony. You will need to complete a PD2 form which you can get from a post office. The name on your passport and the name on your travel booking documents must be the same, otherwise you may be refused entry onto the plane and into another country.

 

How many witnesses will I need and can you provide them?

You will need one witness each. They can be relatives or friends, but must be able to understand the ceremony without the aid of an interpreter. If requested, an additional two witnesses can be included in the register. The registration office cannot provide witnesses for you.

 

Is there a minimum age for my witnesses?

There is no minimum age but any witnesses should be mature enough to understand the ceremony, understand written and spoken English and be able potentially testify in court in extreme cases.

 

I want to have a religious ceremony before my civil ceremony

A religious ceremony should be held after your civil ceremony, otherwise it could cast doubt on the legality of the marriage. A change in the law means that a couple cannot contract more than one legal ceremony with each other.

 

Can I have a reading at my ceremony?

Yes please send your reading to us for approval prior to the ceremony. As this is a civil ceremony, no religious connotation is permitted by law. This includes imagery such as trinity candles, crosses on the walls or religious text. Religious practices such blessings or prayers are also not permitted. Your registrar will advise you on content of music and readings.

 

I’m 18 but my fiancée is 16. Can we still get

married?

Anyone under the age of 18 who wishes to marry must have the consent of whoever is responsible for them (parent or guardian). Speak to your local registration office about obtaining the appropriate forms.

 

Can I bring decorative flowers to my ceremony?

For a registration office ceremony, our rooms already have flower arrangements so it isn’t necessary to bring your own. For an approved premise ceremony please speak to the venue who will advise.

 

Can I bring my own music?

For a registration ceremony please bring the CD with you on the day. Please ensure this will play on a CD player and is in the correct format and not a DVD. A registrar will then play the CD at the ceremony. We have a small selection of classical music appropriate to ceremonies that we will play if you forget your music. For an approved premise ceremony, please speak to the venue who will advise.

 

How many copies of the Marriage Certificate should I request?

Copies are £11 each and you may requests as many as you like, although you will only receive one handwritten copy on the day of the wedding, the remainder will be posted to you within a week.

Once the Marriage is registered and papers are archived then each certificate requested will be £11, you may order more online at www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk. The price of certificates is set by The General Register Office so may increase at any time.

 

Can the 28 day waiting period be reduced in any way?

It can be done in exceptional circumstances. For example, if the bride/groom or a close relative is terminally ill and not expected to recover, then it is possible for the 28 days to be reduced on authority of the Registrar General. Ring your local registration office and ask to speak to the Superintendent Registrar who will determine if this is the case.

 

May I bring music to personalise my ceremony?

Most couples choose three pieces of music: one for entrance, one whilst the marriage register is being signed and one for exiting the ceremony. If you supply music on a CD or memory stick, the registrar will play the music at the relevant parts of the ceremony.  If you are using a smart phone, please nominate a friend or family member to operate the music for you

 

May I choose any type of music?

You may choose any type of music, as long as it is not religious. Marriage law does not allow religious music (i.e. hymns, prayers) to be played during a civil ceremony. An incidental reference to an angel or heaven is fine

 

May I include live music in my ceremony?

You may include live music, as long as the instruments are acoustic. We cannot allow any electrical pianos or amplifiers to be plugged into the Council House’s electricity supply. This is a health and safety regulation

 

How should I supply my music to you?

We can play a CD / CD-R, we can connect a smartphone via AV lead or Bluetooth or we can use a USB/ memory stick. Please bring your music with you on the day. We do not need to receive it in advance

 

May I include a reading by a friend or relative?

There is space in the ceremony for up to two readings. Marriage law does not allow any religious music, images texts or prayers to be included a civil ceremony. If you are unsure about any aspect of your ceremony, please contact us, we will be happy to advise you.

 

Do my readings and music have to be in English language?

You may have music or readings in any language you choose, but they must not be religious. We may ask for a translation of a reading or song, so that we can be sure that it meets legal requirements.

 

May we personalise the ceremony by writing our own promises?

You may write your own marriage promises if you wish. Please be aware that marriage law does not allow any religious words to be included in a civil ceremony, so please do not include phrases such as, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” etc. as these words are taken from the Book of Common Prayer. We will usually ask to see any personal ceremony words before the ceremony takes place to make sure that they meet legal requirements.

 

Where can I get more information?

The UK Government website has lots of information, you can find it at:

www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships/overview

or call us at Nottingham Register Office on 0115 8415554, email office.register@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

 

On the day 

What time should we arrive?

Please arrive approximately 15 minutes before the ceremony begins. Please be advised that you will be interviewed before the ceremony begins. If you do not wish to see each other before the ceremony begins, please arrive separately – one partner 20 minutes before the ceremony begins and one partner 10 minutes before the ceremony begins.

 

What are pre-wedding interviews?

This is an informal interview before your wedding ceremony takes place. The registrar - who will be making the entry in the marriage register and issuing your marriage certificate - will ask you to give personal details (similar to those given during your notice of marriage appointment). The details of your father or stepfather will also be checked – i.e. name and occupation. For a step-father, he must have been married to your mother at some point. We record this information for genealogy purposes, as the best way to trace a family tree is through birth and marriage certificates. You will also be able to discuss your choices of words, music and promises with the Deputy Superintendent Registrar who will be conducting the ceremony.

 

Do we need to bring any paperwork to the wedding?

We do not usually need to see any proof of ID during the interview – unless you have changed your name since giving notice of marriage.  If you have not already sent it to us prior to the wedding day, it would be helpful if you could bring your ceremony return sheet with your choices of words and details of ring bearers, witnesses etc.

 

Whom should we choose as witnesses?

You can choose two people of any nationality to be a witness to your marriage, as long as they are capable of following the ceremony (in English language) and can sign their name in the marriage register. We do not need to see any proof of ID for witnesses and you can change them at any time before the ceremony takes place without seeking our permission.  

 

I am worried about the words I will have to say during the ceremony.

Please do not worry about this. Your ceremony words are repeated after the registrar, so you do not have to memorise them. Legally, you only have to say one set of contracting words and one set of declaratory words, so if you really do not want to say very much, you can choose the shortest words and avoid the stress of public speaking. If you have written your own promises, you may wish to read the words from a card. Alternatively, you can ask the Deputy Superintendent Registrar to incorporate your words into the ceremony and just repeat them after the registrar.  We want you to enjoy your day, so if there is anything that you are worried about, please tell you registrars – they are there to help.

 

Can I make an entrance with my Father, Mother or other family member(s)?

You can make an entrance with pageboys, bridesmaids or family members. Please be advised that some of the smaller ceremonial spaces in the Council do not have an aisle, so please bear this in mind when booking your room.

 

Can my bridesmaids or guests throw confetti, rose petals or bring balloons to the wedding?

For health and safety reasons and as a courtesy to other wedding parties, we cannot permit confetti or rose petals to be thrown inside or outside the Council House. Balloons are not allowed inside the building for health and safety / security reasons.

 

Can my photographer / family / friends photograph or video the ceremony?

Your guests/photographer are welcome to take photographs and/or video your ceremony. We only request they do not photograph the official register. We would love you to share your photos with us. Please encourage your family, friends or official photographer to share their photos with us on the   following accounts:

Twitter: @CHouseEvents

Instagram: Councilhouse.events

 

How long will the ceremony last?

The ceremony will last approximately 20 minutes. The actual length will depend upon the number of readings that you choose and how many photographs you wish to have taken.

 

When will I receive my marriage certificate?

You will receive a handwritten certificate from your Registrar at the end of your marriage ceremony. Any additional certificates which you have pre-ordered and paid for will be posted to an address of your choice within 3 to 5 working days.

During the ceremony 

What if I make a mistake in my vows, or start to laugh or cry?

 The registrar will ask you to repeat all vows after them. If you make a mistake, they will simply repeat what you need to say. Please don’t be embarrassed, your guests are there to celebrate your big day and will understand if you make a mistake. You’re only human!

 

How long will the ceremony take?

At a registration office, the actual ceremony performed by the registrar can take up to 20 minutes. At an approved venue, the actual ceremony can take up to 30 minutes. The duration is usually determined by the number of readings, songs played and photographs taken. For both, the interviews beforehand take approximately 5 minutes each.

 

Can I bring a professional photographer or videographer?

Photographs and film are wonderful reminders of your day. However, registrars will explain to your photographer and guests who wish to take photos or video when this should take place.

 

Are we allowed to throw confetti or have balloons?

For a registration office ceremony at The Council House unfortunately you are unable to throw confetti, inside or outside. For an approved premises ceremony, please speak to the venue who will advise. Please note that unfortunately helium balloons are not permitted inside the Council House Can we bring Helium balloons?

Wedding at a hotel or other approved premises

What time will the registrars arrive?

The registrars will arrive 30 minutes before your ceremony takes place. They will conduct a short interview with each partner separately, or they can see you both together if you wish. Please be advised that registrars are not permitted to conduct pre-wedding interviews in your hotel room.

 

What are pre-wedding interviews?

This is an informal interview before your wedding ceremony takes place. The registrar - who will be making the entry in the marriage register and issuing your marriage certificate - will ask you to give personal details (similar to those given during your notice of marriage appointment). The Deputy Superintendent Registrar – who will be conducting the marriage ceremony - will talk to you about your choices of words and discuss rings, promises and music choices.  The details of your father or step-father will also be checked – i.e. name and occupation. For a step-father, he must have been married to your mother at some point. We record this information for genealogy purposes, as the best way to trace a family tree is through birth and marriage certificates.

 

What paperwork do we need to bring to the wedding?

We do not usually need to see any proof of ID during the interview – unless you have changed your name since giving notice of marriage.  If you have not already sent it to us prior to the wedding day, it would be helpful if you could bring your ceremony return sheet with your choices of words and details of ring bearers, witnesses etc.

 

Whom should we choose as witnesses?

You can choose two people of any nationality to be witnesses to your marriage, as long as they are capable of following the ceremony (in English language) and can sign their name in the marriage register. We do not need to see any proof of ID for witnesses and you can change them at any time before the ceremony takes place without seeking our permission.  

 

I am worried about the words I will have to say during the ceremony.

Please do not worry about this. Your ceremony words are repeated after the registrar, so you do not have to memorise them. Legally, you only have to say one set of contracting words and one set of declaratory words, so if you really do not want to say very much, you can choose the shortest words and avoid the stress of public speaking. If you have written your own promises, you may wish to read the words from a card. Alternatively, you can ask the Deputy Superintendent Registrar to incorporate your words into the ceremony and just repeat them after the registrar.  We want you to enjoy your day, so if there is anything that you are worried about, please tell you registrars – they are there to help.

 

 May I include music or a reading by a friend or relative?

There is space in the ceremony for up to two readings. Marriage law does not allow any religious music, symbols, texts or prayers to be included in a civil ceremony. If you are unsure about any aspect of your ceremony, please contact us and we will be happy to advise you. You may play music or have readings in any language you choose, but they must not be religious. We may ask for a translation of a reading or song, so that we can be sure that it meets legal requirements.

 

May we personalise the ceremony by writing our own promises?

You may write your own marriage promises if you wish. Please be aware that marriage law does not allow any religious words to be included in a civil ceremony, so please do not include phrases such as, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health” etc. as these words are taken from the Book of Common Prayer. We will ask to see any personalised wording prior to your ceremony to check that they meet legal requirements.

 

When will I receive my marriage certificate?

You will receive a handwritten certificate from your Registrar at the end of your marriage ceremony. Any additional certificates which you have pre-ordered and paid for will be posted to an address of your choice within 3-5 working days.